The greatest anxiety that most recovering addicts experience, on a post-rehab basis is the risk of relapse. Relapse can materialise in different forms, which is commonly associated with further drug and alcohol exposure and abuse.
Through this outlook and fear, many individuals see relapse as the worst-case scenario, as an unravelling result of recovery this far. While of course, preventing relapse risks are understandable and aimed for, such results will not jeopardise long-term recovery if spotted early and controlled.
Here’s where relapse prevention planning showcases its role, helping to initially reduce the risk of relapse, and to also reverse any potential relapse consequences. It’s important to remember that relapse is an indication that greater focus, that greater commitment and that greater change is required to sustainably maintain a drug and alcohol-free future, instead of a sign of failure.
Through this outlook, with the backing of a relapse prevention plan, the pressure of life after rehab can reduce, helping you not only enjoy life more but also feel confident and in control of what’s ahead.
Here’s some relapse prevention tips to help you through your post-rehab journey, with the intentions to see relapse as a small hiccup, rather than a detrimental, life-limiting consequence. Learn how to reduce the impacts of relapse, along with the resources you have access to here at Addiction Advocates.
What is a relapse?
Relapse is the process, action or consequence which resurfaces recovered conditions, behaviours and feelings. In this instance, someone who’s withdrawn and recovered from a drug and alcohol addiction may experience a relapse, which will result in considering or actively consuming further substances.
In fact, 90% of recovering addicts are found to relapse at some point, whether that’s an emotional, mental or physical relapse. A relapse can manifest through thoughts, cravings, justification and consideration, and through active behaviours. It can also range in significance and impact, from a mild interruption, to a disruptive mark.
Down to the variations of relapse, it’s encouraged that you aren’t fearful of such consequences, and instead actively utilise relapse prevention planning.
It in fact is a warning sign that greater effort, focus or attention must be placed on your choices and lifestyle to maintain a relapse-free reality. You can plan ahead to reduce the risk of such diversion, and also to reduce the impacts of potential relapse in the event of disruption.
What are triggers in addiction?
Addiction triggers are those which influence initial drug and alcohol abuse, and also those that continue the fuelling of such behaviours. Those triggers are known to be the catalyst of relapse, where drug and alcohol exposure has become uncontrollable, increasing the risk of returning addictive characteristics.
It is very important to therefore understand your triggers, which will usually be focused on throughout your rehab programme. Mostly commonly, stress triggers, emotional triggers, mental health issues, social situations, environmental triggers and peer pressure are known to drive addictive behaviours. Those triggers can also influence the risk of relapse if uncontrolled or enabled.
Once you’re aware of such triggers, relapse prevention planning can then work in your favour to reduce potential diversion of such triggers. To experience such benefits, see below our relapse prevention tips along with the necessity of planning ahead.
The need for relapse prevention planning
It can be difficult to plan ahead when considering the road of long-term recovery. Experiences will differ for every client, commonly dependent on initial triggers, on personal outlooks, and on commitment levels.
However, a degree of planning can be completed, standing as relapse prevention. Relapse prevention is the process of rehab that focuses on firstly increasing the awareness of relapse risks, and secondly, planning to prevent such risks in the event of exposure to personal triggers.
Through our affiliated rehab clinics, you will therefore work to understand your triggers, their strength and how they can materialise into an emotional, mental or physical relapse. Each of course will have different warning signs and consequences which will be very important to understand.
Once you’re aware of such triggers, it’s time to work on a relapse prevention plan, to act as an escape route through exposure. A plan will help you confidently manoeuvre through any relapse risks, and also offer guidance in the event of a relapse. Your personal plan will include motivational quotes, helplines, steps to take in the event of exposure, and refocusing steps to revert the impacts of relapse.
Ultimately, relapse risks do want to be prevented. We hope that all of our clients can go on with little disruption through long-term recovery. Yet, realistically, down to potential triggers and their place, in reality, it can be difficult to guarantee such forecasts. Here’s where relapse prevention tips and planning can act as a lifeline, to reduce the impacts that potential disruptions can have on the masses.
Relapse prevention tips
- Be in touch with your emotions
Only you will know how you feel deep down. Being in touch with your emotions, potential changes in your feelings and outlooks can help you easily spot the signs of relapse. The sooner you can spot the signs, the greater you can prevent the consequences and development of relapse risks.
- Understand your personal triggers
Understanding your personal triggers will help you be aware of potential disruptions which may result in relapse. Triggers are personal and can be anything from a place, to a person, to a memory and to an activity.
- Reduce exposure to your triggers
One of our significant relapse prevention tips is to actively reduce your exposure to your triggers. If you’re aware that social situations increase your cravings, be selective with the social situations you partake in, and be alert throughout your exposure.
- Lean on your relapse prevention plan
A relapse prevention plan will be in place to ease your post-rehab transition and guide you through such vulnerabilities. It’s encouraged that you make use of your plan in times of need, along with strengthening its contents as your recovery journey continues.
- Make use of aftercare services
Aftercare services are a customary offering that can help you keep in touch with your emotions, digest cravings and develop your recovery capabilities. Remain accountable and present by embracing aftercare services.
- Maintain a mindful lifestyle
Your lifestyle choices can dictate the risk of relapse you may experience. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle your exposure to drugs and alcohol will be reduced. Yet by also maintaining a mindful lifestyle, you’ll be fully aware of what’s around you, and how you can control your environments, relationships and influences.
- Remember that you are human
Please remember that you’re human and that the majority of recovering addicts will experience a degree of relapse. The steps you take to prevent relapse will define your future, rather than the relapse itself. Set yourself up for long-term recovery by following our relapse prevention tips.
Relapse risks will present themselves. Yet how you respond will dictate your future capabilities to recover. By planning ahead, by being present, and by truly taking care of yourself, relapse prevention will be a possibility for you. To reach this point, contact our team at Addiction Advocates to complete rehab and to form your own relapse prevention plan.
I came to you desperate, feeling so depressed and anxious. I left feeling hopeful and grateful and excited about life. I can't believe the change in just 28 days.